By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Just like the Bommer G Operators, the Bommer G Truckers clinched the New Providence Softball Association men’s championship title with a four-game sweep over arch rivals Dorin United Hitmen in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex Tuesday night.
But unlike the Lady Operators’ 8-2 triumph over the first year Lady Hitmen earlier in the night, the Truckers didn’t get to finish the game. Nevertheless, the Truckers were handed the victory with a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth after Hitmen’s Richard Bain got into a confrontation with Truckers’ first baseman Ramon ‘Shaky’ Johnson and subsequently base umpire Eddie Ford.
After getting ejected, Bain went into the dugout, but he wasn’t quiet. Before he left the playing area, the Hitmen players started throwing their softball gear onto the field, forcing plate umpire Michael Hanna to eventually call off the game. It was a bitter-sweet ending to what had turned out to be a great pitching dual between national team players Adney ‘the Heat’ Bethel and Alcott Forbes.
With the victory, the Truckers joined the Lady Operators as the representatives for the NPSA in the Bahamas Softball Federation’s National Round Robin Championship series that will be played the first weekend in November at the same venue.
After both victories, sponsor Bommer George and his fans lit up the park with fireworks and balloons and they popped the champagne as the celebrations got underway.
“We really had something to prove to all the talks from the young guys who were saying that our pitcher is old and the Truckers are finished,” said Truckers’ catcher Jamal ‘Sarge’ Johnson. “The Truckers had something to prove. In order to be the champions, you have to beat the champions.”
As the defending champions, manager Perry Seymour required the service of Bethel from Eleuthera and he cemented the loop hole they had in their pitching department. Seymour said they really went out there and got the job done as best as the Truckers know how to.
“We’re a veteran team. We know how to take the pressure,” Seymour said. “Alcott pitched a hell of a series in the four games. We beat them in some close games. It came down to who made the most mistakes and my guys played better ball than them and that is why we came out on top.”
Bethel, in another stingy performance from the mound with a one-hitter on his ledger, was named the series most valuable player after he posted a perfect 4-0 win-loss record. He also recorded 46 strike outs and gave up a total of 10 hits as he got the edge over Forbes, the rising young star.
“It feels great. It feels very good to win another championship,” Bethel said. “We won the championship, but we’re not going to stop there. We want to win the national championship title too. That is one of the reasons why I came here again. This is the best team in the country.”
The Truckers actually had the title wrapped up from the first inning when they scored three runs as Van ‘Lil Joe’ Johnson led off with a single. Ramon Storr and Marvin ‘Tougie’ Wood had consecutive RBI double double and single and then with the bases loaded with two out, Ramon Johnson added a RBI fielder’s choice.
In the third, Adney Bethel led off with a walk and scored on Ramon Johnson’s RBI single.
Dorin United got their only hit in the fifth with two out when Alcott Forbes had a triple, but was left stranded as Adney Bethel mowed down the next three batters.
The frustration of not just losing the game and the series, but also getting shut out, rose in the sixth when the game was halted before it got too out of hand after Bain’s tactics at first base.
TIME TO CELEBRATE
While the Hitmen felt they were treated unfairly, the Truckers began their celebrations. But nobody was more thrilled than sponsor Bommer George.
“Whoever wants me have to come and get me. We are the champions,” George said. “This is for all the haters in the league - Bishop (Stephen Beneby), Baylor (Bobby Fernander), especially Baylor, and all of them who didn’t want to see me win. Now we have won both championships, they have to come to me.
“It’s over. I’m finished with it. We’re going to the round robin. There’s nobody that’s going to beat us. We’re unbeatable. We have been preparing for this moment six months ago with our t-shirts and the banner. That’s how much confidence that we had. We knew that nobody in this league could beat us in the men or the ladies division. This one is for all the haters.”
George has gone ever further than to say after watching his Miami Heat win the National Basketball Association (NBA) title in June, he’s finally glad to get that feeling of being a champion in the NPSA.
“I don’t know how to take it in right now. I can enjoy this one. This one is for me,” he said. “This is a good year for me. The Heat won, the PLP won and after we took these two, the (Miami) Dolphins are going to be the Super Bowl champions come January. You can laugh as much as you want, but that is what’s going to happen.”
Seymour said he and his Truckers have dedicated their victory to George.
“He’s a great sponsor. He’s a real, real great sponsor. He deserves to have two championships in one night.”
Mario Ford, who has managed the Lady Operators for the past three years, said he’s glad to finally win this one for George.
“It’s a good feeling to win,” he said. “To see where we brought this team from and build the team to get to where we needed to go. Our biggest challenge was the Wildcats in the playoffs. We knew that once we got past them, we would have no problem winning the title.”
Ford said he had the pitching staff in Desiree Coakley and Sharnell Symonette, whom they acquired during the off season from the former national champions Proper Care Pool Lady Sharks and they were able to combine to get the job done on the mound.
Symonette, by the way, went 2-0 on the mound and batted 6-for-17 with three runs scored and as many runs driven in to join Seymour as the co-MVP of the women’s series. Seymour, the longest member of the team, went 5-for-17 with six runs and six RBI.